Introducing the New Yamamoto Sanshouo Salamander

By Mark Fong

If you ever get the opportunity to talk fishing with Bub Tosh, it won't take you long to discover his passion for all aspects of the sport. There are many facets to his fishing career; Touring Professional and Bait Company Owner just to name a few. Today he enjoys the challenge of conceptualizing and designing baits. Over the past few years he has designed the PscyhoDad and the California Roll for Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Tosh is very excited about his latest creation, the Sanshouo (pronounced san-show-oh).

“I wanted to design a bait that was small and compact. Something you could use as a jig trailer or by itself. I like to fish it on a dart head, or a Carolina rig. I’ll punch it, flip it, or sight fish with it,” said Tosh. “I’m always thinking of new bait ideas. I started cutting and remelting plastics and I decided to try something different so I made a plastic tail and put it in line with a round grub style or Ika body. I went to Clear Lake for a tournament with five of these baits made up and I absolutely crushed them on it. That's when I knew this bait was strong.”

Bub's friend Kensaku Kashiwagi of Japan shows off a nice Delta bass that fell for the Sanshouo

Bub's friend Kensaku Kashiwagi of Japan shows off a nice Delta bass that fell for the Sanshouo

When he returned home, Tosh sent the remaining prototype to Ron Colby, VP of Operations at GYCB. Colby was instantly intrigued with the bait as it did not resemble anything he had seen before. One of the first things Colby did when he got the bait was to take it out to the water to check the bait's action. “The first thing that came to my mind was that this thing looks like a salamander,” said Colby. His initial impression ultimately led Colby to name the bait “Sanshouo”, which is the Japanese word for salamander. 

Testing and Refinement

“When Bub sent me this bait, he told me that I couldn't fish with it because it was the only one he had left,” explained Colby. “It was sitting on my desk and somehow got knocked off , and as I backed up to look for it, I rolled over it with my chair and cut it in half. When I called Bub up to tell him what had happened, he couldn't believe it.”

In short order Tosh fabricated another prototype and it was soon en route to Colby. At that point, Colby had test molds constructed and the two began fishing and fine tuning the bait. “We both determined that it was a hair big and needed a few different tweaks,” said Colby. “The legs on the front, do we face them forward, do we face them back or do we even want to put them on there? We decided to put them on and if guys want they can easily remove them.”

As the field testing progressed, the bait continued to impress Colby. He took the newly created prototypes to Clear Lake and to the Delta where he punched, pitched and flipped with great success. Back on the clear waters of Lake Powell, the bait proved deadly on big smallies rigged on a football head and pulled over the sand, rocks and gravel.

Meanwhile Tosh was experiencing similar results. “They just bite the thing,” said Tosh. “It looks like a lot of things. It could be a crawdad, it definitely could be a salamander, a goby, or a waterdog, or a sculpin, or a bluegill, or a hellgrammite. It just looks like it lives in the rocks.”

“No matter what color, no matter what rig, no matter what lake, if you throw this bait around long enough, they're gonna bite it,” said Tosh. It was hard for him to narrow down the many options, but Tosh ultimately agreed to share three of his favorite ways to rig and fish the Sanshouo. 

Neko Rig

“I took the bait to Japan and went to Lake Biwa for a tournament (ed: where he finished 3rd). I put a nail weight in it and started firing it our over the rockpiles and letting it fall. Pick it up and drop it, the Sanshouo has a crazy,  wandering action and is amazing on the Neko Rig. Shake it on slack line and the tail really moves,” said Tosh. “Because it is so wide and flat, when it arcs it has lots of side-to-side wobble and resistance against it. With a little short pull the Sanshouo does a lot of things.”

Bub uses a dental rubber band to secure his hook in the Sanshouo

Bub uses a dental rubber band to secure his hook in the Sanshouo

In place of a standard o ring, Tosh stretches a dental rubber band around the body of the Sanshouo to secure a 2/0 Nogales Monster finesse hook half way down the body of the bait and inserts a 1/16oz or a 3/32oz tungsten nail weight in the head. He favors a 7' medium action Irod matched to a 2500 series spinning reel. Tosh uses a 20 to 30 foot length of 7lb Sunline Shooter as a leader tied to his 12lb Sunline SX1 Braid mainline.


Tosh is known for his mastery with a punch rig so it should come as no surprise that he made sure the Sanshouo excels at punching. “ I like to rig it with a 1 1/2oz or 1 1/4oz tungsten weight depending on how heavy the cover is, a 4/0 Paycheck Punch Hook and a punch skirt. I cut the top two legs off the bait so it won't interfere with the silicon skirt,” advised Tosh. “I use an Irod Bub Tosh Signature Series Punch Rod with a fast 7:3:1 reel and 65lb braid.”

While Tosh likes to adjust his color selection based on varying conditions, he revealed that a green pumpkin (#297) Sanshouo matched with a green pumpkin punch skirt and a green pumpkin tungsten weight is a combination that will work everywhere across the country. To finish off his rig, he tips the tail with a black bait marker so that the bait mimics a baby bass.

Jig It

One of the simplest ways to fish the new Sanshouo is on a jig head. Tosh likes to use a 1/4oz ball head jig with a 3/0 hook on spinning gear. “You can either drag it or shake it like a dart head worm. My favorite way to fish it is to snap it. Let it hit the bottom then snap it up. Let it hit the bottom, snap it up,” explained Tosh. “It moves differently than a tube and has a little bit bigger profile.”

More recently Tosh has been using a pivot or swinging style football head. He likes the action the swing head produces. On a lift and drop retrieve, the bait tends to wander while the tail wags side to side as the legs move enticingly. Tosh relies on casting gear when fishing the Sanshouo in this manner.

The Sanshouo measures 4.75” and is available in twelve great Yamamoto colors including black with blue flake (021), watermelon black and red flake (208) and green pumpkin with black flake (297). If you are looking to add a versatile new weapon to your bass fishing arsenal the Sanshouo is the answer.

Yamamoto Product Mentioned in this Article

Sanshouo Salamander

Sanshouo Salamander